Sayounara, Fenu (Good-bye, Boat)

When we bought our boat 3 years ago, we named it “Fenu”, which literally means “boat” in Japanese.  And today we said good-bye to Fenu as she goes to a new home.

I have really enjoyed the little boat.  It was sad for me to see her being towed away by the new owner.  I asked myself why I would miss the boat.  Partly it’s because I love being on the water.  While the motor is running, the wind blowing through your hair, and you steer the little craft to cut through water, it’s so…freeing.

But the biggest reason for missing the boat is because of how much Joshua enjoyed it.  Since the first minute he got in the boat, he loved it.  He was only 18 months old back then.  When the boat bounced over the waves, he giggled and bounced up and down on his knees.  While I steered the boat, he sat on the bow seat playing peek-a-boo with me and smiled the sweetest smiles at me.  He insisted on steering the boat.  He fell asleep in my arms numerous times.  He loved launching and loading the boat with me.  Nothing made me happier than seeing my son so happy.  I will never forget how much I laughed with him on that little boat.

We partly sold the boat for financial reasons, and partly because it’s difficult to do the launching and maintenance with a baby strapped to me.  Maybe one day when the kids are a little bit older and we have a place to store it ourselves, we would get another one.

Thank you, Fenu.  It has been a slice!

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Back on the water

We got our boat out of storage, and took it out on the water for the first time this year.  This is Savanna’s first time on the boat.  I guess the rocking motion on the boat was just too enjoyable for a baby; she slept through most of it.  She only managed to be awake when we stopped for lunch.

It was a gorgeous day today, and it was so nice to be back on the water.

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Belly size dictates the boating season


Today is our last day of the boating season.  We have a lot planned for weekends in October, so we figured it’s time to put away the toy.

As I put on my life jacket today, I could barely buckle up the jacket around my belly.  I had the straps loosened up as much as possible, but still had to take a deep breath before I can do up the buckle.  I guess, in a way, it’s a good thing we’re putting the boat away.

The weather turned out to be quite mild today, and we even had some sunshine up in Indian Arm.  There was barely anyone out on the water today.

We cruised up to the top of the arm, and had a little picnic lunch in the sun.  The water was very calm.

On the way back, both of the boys on the boat fell asleep in mommy’s arms.



Toddler’s first camping trip = I question my sanity


I’ve always loved camping.  I love staying up late by the camp fire, drinking an icy cold beer, eating s’mores or all sorts of junk food, and hanging out with friends.  Cliff doesn’t love it as much as I do, but he accommodates me by going with me once a year.

Back in July we had planned on going camping one weekend, and that was the weekend we had a rainstorm.  Needless to say we chickened out and canceled that trip.  This weekend was looking great in terms of weather, so we decided to give it another try.  It would be Joshua’s first time camping.

Normally I do the packing for our trips, because I’m the queen of “lists”.  For a camping trip, I would have multiple lists–to do lists and checklists of things to pack.  But I was so tired the night before the trip, I gave Cliff the lists of things to pack.

Things didn’t get off to a great start.  We set out after I got home from work on Friday, and our destination was Golden Ears Park.  The park is at least a 1 1/2 hour drive from our place, plus we stopped to pick up our boat, put fuel in the boat, and grab some fast food dinner.  By the time we got to the campground, it was getting dark and hard to see.

After being in the car for so long, Joshua was demanding to get out of his car seat.  I don’t blame him; I was starting to get antsy too.  But my heart sank when we circled around the campground and seeing all the sites were full.  I was thinking, what kind of fools are camping in mid-September?  I guess the answer is, our kind of fools.

I was trying to keep Joshua occupied with snacks so he doesn’t focus on how long he has been strapped in his seat.  Then, he choked on a piece of chip, and started to cough.  After a few coughs, he was quiet.  I looked at him, and he looked at me.  I said, “Joshua, are you ok?”  He didn’t say anything, but just stared at me.  Quietness from this guy is never a good sign.

He opened his mouth, and without any further warning, proceeded to vomit all over himself and his car seat.  I don’t know why, but I cupped my hands together and tried catching some of the vomit.  Maybe I thought it would help prevent it from going all over the car.  So now I have a pool of vomit in my cupped hands and nowhere to put it.  Nice going, Angela!

We stopped at a grass patch to clean up.  Well, not so much to clean up, but to dump some of the vomit on the grass.  I know, it’s gross.  Joshua was crying, I had vomit in my cupped hands, and the car reeked, so forgive me for not thinking straight.

Luckily for us, the park ranger had opened up a closed campground to accommodate us fools camping in mid-September.  So we did eventually find a site to camp.  Setting up camp in the dark was not very much fun.  I changed Joshua out of his stinky clothes, wiped him down as much as I could, and tried to convince myself that bringing a 22-month-old toddler camping is a good idea.

The next morning, I asked Cliff to start a fire to get us warmed up.  My back was aching from sleeping without proper support, I was tired from being up half the night with Joshua attempting to use my head as his pillow, and I was cold.  But something didn’t work with starting a fire, and the sad few pieces of wood just gave out some smoke and made my eyes water.  I started making breakfast, then Cliff informed me that he forgot to pack cooking oil, or salt.  Things were going downhill fast, but I kept telling myself that my thoughts of strangling my husband were just the pregnancy hormones acting up.

After a lousy breakfast, we packed up everyone and took the boat to the launch.  It was our first time at this boat launch, and we weren’t prepared for how little space it had for people to stop and get prepared.  So while we were taking off our boat cover and putting in the drain plug as fast as we can, some jackass came to tell us to hurry up.  He had no idea what kind of damage I was ready to dish out to his face.

So far on this camping trip, I’ve already wanted to hurt two people–my husband and a complete stranger.  If things don’t look up soon, I might have to give birth to our daughter while serving time in jail!

Once we launched the boat, the sun was up, and the scenery was beautiful.  It was our first time on Alouette Lake, so we cruised all the way to the top of the lake just checking it out.  The water was still like glass.  The shore was green and gorgeous.  There was barely anyone else on the lake.  We got to the top of the lake, killed the engine and hung out in the area for a bit.  I sat on the swimming platform and dipped my feet in the water.  The water was surprisingly warm, and so clean.

Just as I was starting to think more positively, I hear Joshua say, “Cap! Cap!”  I turned around, and saw that he had just thrown my lens cap into the water.  The cap sank quickly, and there was no saving it.  It’s beyond me why throwing things into water, be it a lake or a toilet bowl, can be this attractive of an activity for a toddler.

We had our lunch on the boat, enjoyed the sunshine, and started heading back.  On our way back, Joshua fell asleep while I was driving.

Back at the camp site, I was exhausted and fell asleep while trying to convince Joshua to nap.  He was all charged up from his power nap on the boat, so he wouldn’t be fooled to take a nap.  I vaguely remember hearing Cliff and Joshua get out of the tent.  When I woke up an hour later, Joshua was standing at the door of the tent calling out, “Mommy come out!”  I sat up, rubbed my eyes, and tried to focus on his little face through the mesh screen.

Wait, what is that?  There was blood on his forehead, nose, and upper lip.  I asked Cliff what happened, and he didn’t know.  He thought that Joshua may have fallen at some point.  Like, really!  You think?  But because Joshua didn’t cry, Cliff just saw him dusting himself off and didn’t know he was hurt.

I felt so guilty for not being there to prevent the fall.  His scraped up little nose looked so sad.  And to hear that he didn’t even cry or complain about it somehow made me feel even more heartbroken.  Maybe he was trying to be brave.

We had some tasteless dinner (because you-know-who forgot to pack seasoning), went for a walk down the path, and let Joshua get really dirty playing with rocks and sand.  While he played with rocks, I questioned my sanity about this entire endeavour in my head.  Maybe 22 months is too early to take a kid camping.  He is not going to remember any of it, and I’ve just brought all this trouble upon myself.  Or maybe we shouldn’t go camping if I didn’t do the packing myself.  Maybe I’ll just hitchhike my way home so I can sleep in my bed tonight with 5 pillows supporting my giant body from every angle.

I was feeling quite discouraged with all the little things that were going wrong, so I suggested to Cliff that we pack up and go home first thing in the morning.  Joshua fell asleep quickly and early that night because he didn’t have his regular nap, and slept for almost 12 hours straight.  The next morning, we packed up and were the first to leave the campground.  All I could think of was how much I would love a steamy hot shower, and wash out the dirt under Joshua’s fingernails.

I asked Joshua if he had fun camping, and he said yes.  He may not know what I was really asking, but at least his answer made me feel a little better that I wasn’t completely out of my mind for taking him camping.



Out on the water

When we bought our boat last winter, we had no idea about how to even turn the thing on, let alone trailering and launching. One of my biggest concern is if Joshua would enjoy being on the boat.  If he hated it, we may have no choice but to sell it.

Eventually we learned to trailer and launch and load the boat (thanks to YouTube tutorials!).  And my worry of how Joshua would do was completely unnecessary.  From the first time he got on the boat this summer, he was hooked.  He would kneel on the bow seat, bounce up and down when the boat hits waves, and laugh and giggle.

The other thing we learned to do, is crabbing.  It’s probably the one form of fishing that requires the least amount of knowledge and skills.  We’ve had a number of incredible meals this summer feasting on fresh crab.

There are a few things I really loved about boating this summer.  I loved having our family and friends join us on the boat, enjoying a cruise of wherever we were going.  It’s something a little different to do than, say, going to a park.  We also usually somehow incorporate a little picnic on the boat or a feast of crabs afterwards.  I also loved seeing our land from a different perspective.  I’ve been to Deep Cove a hundred times, but have never seen it from the inlet.  I also love just sitting back and enjoying the cruise when Cliff is driving.  The sound of the wind and the boat motor drowns all the noise in my head, and it’s quite relaxing.

The biggest enjoyment for me is actually seeing how Joshua loves being on the boat.  Today he sat on the bow seat, looking back at me while I was driving, and he had the biggest grin on his face.  I couldn’t help but break into a big grin too, because he has just melted my heart.

The weather is starting to cool off a little as summer comes to an end.  When we went out on the water today, there was barely anyone out there.  We’re planning to put the boat back into storage at the end of the month.  If the weather is decent, we might go out a couple more times in September.  It’s been a great summer having this little boat!

Catching dinner

So far this summer, we’ve set the crab trap twice and haven’t caught anything.  The first time I think we were somewhere a little too deep in Indian Arm and the trap likely didn’t reach the bottom.  The second time was the same thing at a different location.

Today we went boating with some friends up Indian Arm, and thought we’d give it another try with the crab trap.  We baited the cage with chicken and sardines, set the trap, and hoped for the best.  We went on our way up to the tip of Indian Arm, enjoyed a lunch spread prepared by our friends, and came back to pick up the trap 1 1/2 hour later.

As Cliff was pulling up the trap, I can see he was actually using some effort to pull.  An empty trap would have come up easily without much effort.  This has to be good.  There has to be something in the trap!  I crossed my fingers as he pulled, thinking in the back of my mind that hopefully we have something for dinner. 100 ft of rope later, he pulled out the trap with 12 crabs in it.  I think I giggled like a kid with excitement.

We checked the size and gender of the crabs, and threw back the ones we couldn’t keep.  We were also limited to only keeping 4 of the crabs because we only had one tidal fishing licence.  We ended up with 3 dungeness and 1 red rock, all of very decent size.

On the way home, I sent a text message to our foodie friends soliciting for a dinner invitation, and received a positive reply.  So we went over to their place, they steamed up the crabs, and make a butter/lemon/white truffle oil dipping sauce to go with the crab.  I think all my taste buds had died and gone to heaven!  The crabs were sweet and juicy, and the sauce just about put me over the edge.

It was so exciting for me to catch our dinner!

Father’s Day for an awesome dad

When Cliff and I got married, I told him I didn’t really want kids.  We were busy with building our careers and having fun, and no plans for kids were in the horizon.

However, I always knew Cliff would make a great dad.  I knew he would be very patient and loving.  So I knew if we did have kids, at least they have a 50/50 chance of getting those good genes from Cliff.  So 7 years later, Joshua arrived.  Life has certainly not been the same ever since.

Cliff never made me feel like raising Joshua was more of my responsibility than his.  He has always been keen to change diapers, give baths, read, play with, and do anything goofy to entertain Joshua.  When the decision came for him to stay home with Joshua on a full-time basis, he embraced it.  Joshua absolutely adores Cliff and loves to be with him!

Happy Father’s Day, babe!  You’re an amazing dad!  When the kiddos are old enough they will tell you that themselves.

Father’s Day breakfast; asparagus and cheese strata.  Joshua actually helped to make this:

Baked oatmeal with bananas and blueberries:

Father’s Day cruise:

Hanging out at home after cruising:

A motorcycle for a boat

In 2010, when I was 4 months pregnant with Joshua, I sold my beloved BMW Dakar.  When the buyer rode the bike away, I stood there crying in the parking lot.  Boy, I loved that bike!

So last winter, Cliff and I decided we will use the proceeds from the bike to buy a little boat.  Boating would be something everyone in the family can enjoy, and we can take our friends and family out with us.

It took a little while to find a boat within our price range.  I drove down to Seattle one day and brought this baby home:

Today was our first time taking the boat out.  It wasn’t without many issues to work out, mainly due to our non-existent experience with boating.  But once we got into the water, it was a total blast.

I was a little worried about how Joshua is going to react to being on the boat.  But he actually kept his life jacket on the whole time.  Although he refused to wear a hat, he did ok with the layer of sunscreen I smothered on him.  He sat and smiled at the wind blowing on his face when we were driving.  He was so exhausted after the ride that he fell asleep in the car before we even left the parking lot.  After he woke up from his nap, he kept saying, “Boat? boat?”  I think he really enjoyed it too.